Posts Tagged: The Guardian
Much like the parochial vocabulary it strives to catalogue, the Dictionary of American Regional English is in danger of extinction. A stopgap crowdfunding campaign is currently open to support the project in the short term, but the long-term forecast for the entity protecting such gems as “flumadiddle” (nonsense), “slippery jims” (pickles), and “rantum scooting” (going out with no definite destination) is grim....more
For the Guardian, Megan Quibell argues that climate change has changed dystopian fiction, as many recent dystopian works rely on a “catalyst” that stems from “the destruction of the environment.” The result is a series of books that “hammers home” the reality of climate change, which is “not something for the distant future.”...more
You might say that our blog offers curated literary articles. That might sound pretentious, but not nearly as pretentious as a curated salad, a curated college application, or a curated wine list. The Guardian takes a look at the use, overuse, and history of curation:
The idea of the contemporary curator originates with the conceptual art movement of the 1960s.
Colm Toíbín, author of On Elizabeth Bishop, has a lovely long reflection at the Guardian about Bishop’s friendship with Thom Gunn, and the parallels in the artists’ life and work. Bishop and Gunn both shied away from writing about mentally ill mothers and queer relationships for most of their lives, although Gunn addressed both in the 1990s....more
British novelist David Nicholls believes that book buyers who browse their local shops and then buy books online are basically shoplifters, he tells the Guardian. The author of Us and other novels, Nicholls is a former bookseller himself. He delivered the keynote speech at the London Book Fair’s Digital Minds conference where he lamented that, “a town without a bookshop is missing something.”...more
Lithub, a new web endeavor from Electric Literature with partnerships between publishers, magazines, journals, and existing websites, launched yesterday with the aim of becoming a portal at the center of the literary world. The Guardian caught up with site editor Jonny Diamond who explained how the website hopes to operate:
“The very basic quid pro quo is an ad in exchange for a feature or excerpt.
There are many distractions in the modern world like television and listicles. As a result, people aren’t reading in the same way they did a half century ago, opines Oliver Burkeman at the Guardian. All is not lost. Aside from carrying a book around all the time, Burkeman suggests turning reading into a ritual:
…such ritualistic behaviour helps us “step outside time’s flow” into “soul time”.
Over at the Guardian, Rachel Cooke reflects on her experience as a judge for this year’s Folio prize and shares what reading the eighty submissions revealed to her about the state of British and American fiction:
The British social history novel seems doomed so far as our prize culture goes; impossible to imagine a writer such as David Lodge enjoying the same career today.
Even if we already know our identity, proper representation helps us accept that identity. It’s well-established that negative/no representation has awful effects on self-esteem. When we see no one like us—or when we’re only ever the troubled sibling, never the heroic kid —it sends a message.
Tomas Tranströmer, the beloved Swedish poet and Nobel laureate, has passed away at age 83. Tranströmer was notable for the economy of his work, its quiet optimism, and the insights it brought from the poet’s long career as an industrial psychologist....more
At the Guardian, A.D. Miller wonders why writers struggle to describe the “bonds” of friendship in fiction. What he finds is that close friendships are often difficult to “rationalize” because they limit access to common literary tropes:
Friendship denies writers the shortcuts they enjoy in the portrayal of other ties.
“I hate literature,” wrote Varlam Shalamov in a 1965 letter. “I do not write memoirs; nor do I write short stories.”
Despite his claim, Varlam Shalamov would become one of the most prolific Russian writers, producing 147 short stories about life in the gulag....more
For the Guardian, Moira Redmond considers the prevalence of “misleading” book titles. The article references a number of well-known texts including Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping, which Redmond suggests is “sublimely about non-housekeeping.” However, Moira argues that “allusive titles” are not without merit: “They can be intriguing and draw you in....more
Tim Youd has recently undertaken the task of reproducing Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim, but the Guardian says the idea of copying classic novels is not so original; Pierre Menard, a character in a Borges story, did it first:
Although the words themselves were exactly the same, Pierre Menard’s fragmentary Quixote was judged to be “subtler than that of Cervantes”.
If there is an individual alive in 2015 with the genius and vision of James Joyce, they’re probably working for Google, and if there isn’t, it doesn’t matter since the operations of that genius and vision are being developed and performed collectively by operators on the payroll of that company, or of one like it.
There were more than 458,000 self-published titles in 2013, an increase of more than 437% since 2008. And when it comes to DIY publishing, women seem to be the bigger beneficiaries, reports the Guardian. An analysis of self-published titles by FicShelf reveals that 67% of the top-ranked titles were written by women....more
A restored version of Anthony Trollope’s The Duke’s Children, reinstating 65,000 words cut from the novel for its original publication, will celebrate the writer’s 200th birthday. The precise impetus for the cut is unknown, but researchers agree it was likely a call for economy from publishers; Trollope was outspoken in his frustration at being asked to pare down manuscripts....more
A new bibliography cataloguing the various editions of Harry Potter publications will help readers identify which edition of the books they own. The collection will also reveal secrets of JK Rowling’s edits, reports the Guardian. The 544-page book took Sotheby’s director Philip Errington five years to compile and includes such facts as alternative titles like Harry Potter and the Death Eaters, Harry Potter and the Fire Goblet and Harry Potter and the Three Champion....more
The investigatory saga following an accusation of foul play in the death of poet Pablo Neruda appears to be drawing to a close, thanks to a Chilean judge’s ruling. Neruda’s remains were exhumed in 2013, in the hopes of discovering whether his death was truly the result of his cancer, or the product of a politically motivated assassination by poison....more
Agatha Christie was never shy to reply to her fan mail, and now the notable crime writer’s letters will be collected and published in celebration of her 125th birthday. The collection will not only feature Christie’s letters, but also the original fan mail, including correspondences with a Polish woman who told Christie that her novel The Man in the Brown Suit helped her to survive German labor camps during the second world war:
“I read and reread (it) so often that I almost knew it by heart,” she wrote.
To master dialogue, description, subtext, plot, structure, character, time, point of view, beginnings, endings, theme and much besides is a Herculean labour, not made more appealing by the fact that you always—always—fail.